Relationships are complicated, and disagreements are inevitable. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to keep a clear head. Tempers can flare, and words and actions can get out of hand. These situations sometimes lead to allegations of domestic violence and charges of assault.
At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, we know that being arrested and charged with a crime is frightening. But you don’t have to face these charges alone, and you still have important rights. Our experienced attorneys want to hear your story, protect your name, and work hard to get you the best outcome we can. Contact our Colorado Springs office for a free consultation with a domestic violence defense attorney.
Assault Domestic Violence Overview
The term domestic violence is often used colloquially to refer to various disputes involving intimate partners. In Colorado, domestic violence is defined as any violent act or threat of violence perpetrated against a person with whom the defendant has an intimate relationship. However, under Colorado law, domestic violence is not a standalone crime. Rather, a person is first charged with assault, and domestic violence can be added as an “enhancer” during sentencing.
To understand how this works, consider the definition of assault. In Colorado, assault is willfully or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. When an assault occurs between intimate partners, the alleged perpetrator of the violence can be charged with the crime of assault, with the domestic violence enhancer added due to the circumstances, resulting in domestic violence assault.
In Colorado, domestic violence assault occurs when the alleged perpetrator has an intimate relationship with the victim.
Examples of intimate relationships under Colorado law include:
- Current and former spouses
- Current and former romantic partners
- Co-parents, even if they are no longer in a relationship
It is crucial to understand that in Colorado, reports of domestic violence will result in a mandatory arrest, even if the alleged victim does not want to press charges against the alleged perpetrator. When both individuals are accused of assault, both can be arrested and charged with domestic violence assault.
What Is Third-Degree Domestic Assault in Colorado?
Colorado has different degrees of assault, ranging from first-degree (the most serious) to third-degree (the lightest charge). Under Colorado law, a person commits third-degree assault if they knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person with criminal negligence while using a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon can be an unloaded or loaded firearm or another weapon capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
A domestic violence enhancer can be added to a charge of third-degree assault if a prosecutor can prove the defendant and victim had an intimate relationship, past or present. While domestic assault in the 3rd degree results in bodily injury, those injuries cannot be serious or life-threatening. Otherwise, the charge will be upgraded.
Penalties for Domestic Assault Charges
Third-degree domestic violence is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Typically, the penalties for a conviction of domestic violence in the 3rd degree are up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In Colorado, assault is an “extraordinary risk” crime, meaning Colorado has deemed it harmful to society. A judge could decide to further enhance the penalties for this reason. Furthermore, if the assault was committed against a past or current domestic partner, a defendant will likely face additional consequences if convicted. This could include:
- Mandatory participation in a domestic violence or anger treatment program
- Drug or alcohol counseling
- Restrictions on owning guns and ammunition
- Protective or retraining orders
In addition to criminal penalties, those convicted of assault or domestic violence will experience the consequences of having a criminal record. This can make it difficult to secure employment, housing, and educational opportunities. A criminal conviction can negatively impact a person’s reputation in their community and workplace.
How Does a Prosecutor Prove Assault Domestic Violence?
To secure a conviction for domestic assault in the 3rd degree in Colorado, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed assault and that the defendant and the alleged victim had an intimate relationship as defined by Colorado law. Without evidence that these circumstances exist, it can be difficult for the prosecution to build a case.
How Do I Fight the Charges?
In the United States, someone charged with a crime is innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, we believe every client deserves effective legal representation. Our legal team recognizes that not all domestic disputes are the same. Although there are various defenses against charges of assault domestic violence, we never take a cookie-cutter approach when handling your case. Our attorneys will thoroughly review the facts and evidence to build a solid defense. Possible defenses that can be used might include:
- Defending others
- No use of a deadly weapon
- Lack of intent to cause an injury
- Violation of the accused’s legal rights by authorities
The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer for Assault Domestic Violence
By the time you are arrested for assault domestic violence, prosecutors may already be building a case against you. The longer you wait to get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney, the stronger the case against you will become. Before you do anything else, contact a criminal defense attorney who has a deep understanding of Colorado 3rd degree domestic assault laws.
An experienced attorney can evaluate your case and consider the unique circumstances of your situation. At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, we are committed to providing clients who are facing assault domestic violence charges with effective, compassionate legal representation. Our legal team will work tirelessly to achieve the best outcome in your case. We have a track record of getting our clients’ charges reduced or dismissed, and we can work hard to do the same for you.
Contact a Colorado Springs Attorney Today
If you are facing charges of 3rd-degree domestic assault in Colorado Springs, don’t wait another moment to secure the legal representation that’s your constitutional right. Contact the experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense team at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC for a free consultation.